5 Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses To Fuel GrowthStuart Taverner
It doesn’t matter which industry you’re in, if you own a small business you’ll know that marketing – at least to some extent – is important. While hiring a publicist to get the word out might be the best option for some companies, but small businesses often need to be more strategic to make their marketing dollars go far. Read on for our top five effective marketing strategies for your small business.
Plan, plan, plan
Planning is a strategy in and of itself, and is an important step that will maximise your marketing efforts. It doesn’t really matter what form your marketing strategy takes – a list of dot-points, an extensive document, or a shared digital note – as long as it outlines your plans, your goals and how your business will measure its progress. Read our tips on how to measure digital marketing.
Find your audience online
In 2021, digital marketing strategies can make or break your business. While the best strategies allow for flexibility and responsiveness to customer behaviour, it’s worth covering all your bases if you have the resources to do so: social media, eDMs (e.g. email newsletters), advertisements on search engines and more. If social media isn’t your thing, you could consider hiring a social media coordinator or engaging a digital marketing agency. If you feel at home with social media, it might be time to read up on the latest strategies and trends that other brands are adopting.
Understanding what your competitors are doing and what their target audiences are is another vital piece of identifying growth opportunities.
Embrace physical marketing – but be strategic
Not as much emphasis is placed on offline marketing strategies these days (and especially not during COVID-19 related lockdowns), but they can still be an important avenue to reach customers of your business. Business cards, billboards and hard-copy newsletters are still relevant, so long as you’re not paying too much for them and they aren’t your sole form of advertising.
Seasonal cards, gifts and various other forms of offline initiatives are usually effective, with more time-intensive pursuits (like publishing a book) having the potential to serve you well in the long run. You could also consider bringing your social media into the real world through social media walls that display user-generated content, or other creative offline marketing techniques.
Engage brand ambassadors and influencers
Brand ambassadors and influencers can do wonders for your small business, particularly if your brand isn’t well-known and hasn’t been adopted by influential people in an organic way. People often confuse the two, but they serve very different purposes. Brand ambassadors are existing customers, partners or employees – people – who are genuinely passionate about your brand and your products. They’ll share their thoughts on your brand both publicly to their audiences and confidentially to you; and you can build long-term marketing strategies around them, expecting to receive content on a continual basis. Influencers, on the other hand, will generally have a short-term relationship with your brand. They usually promote a product only once or twice (to their substantial followers), and in many cases, may not have necessarily used your product before.
Influencers can be great for increasing the exposure of your brand (including people who may have never interacted with your brand before), as they typically have larger audiences than brand ambassadors. Brand ambassadors complement influencers and help to drive conversions. They can work with your brand on a long-term basis across all of your campaigns; and as your audience grows, they’ll likely come across some of your ambassadors.
Build customer loyalty
Nurturing your loyal customers, then monitoring and reviewing your relationship with them on an ongoing basis, can only help your business grow. Not only are loyal customers great for your bottom line (they keep returning!), but they could potentially refer you to other customers through word of mouth, social media, online reviews, blogs, emails or more.
To create a sense of loyalty with your consumers, you should be communicating with them regularly through whatever means they prefer (e.g. social media, e-news, blogs, hard-copy pamphlets or flyers – or a combination). You can follow up after a sale is made; delivering on your promises, regularly seeking feedback from them and acting on complaints; and training all of your employees thoroughly on customer service and basic sales processes. Going the extra mile is a short-term investment for a potential long-term gain.
For more information on increasing your sales, read our blog on hacks to boost the productivity of your small business.